Rocket Summer is a band (fronted by multitalented Bryce Avary) in which their music consists of frenetic tracks that force you to move, feel and reflect. Because of this, the EP format should be the perfect fit for the types of songs Avary writes. However, the album will leave the listener wondering why they didn’t choose a different configuration to present their newest tunes.
The title track, “You Gotta Believe,” starts at a frantic pace and doesn’t let up until the end. You’ll find yourself singing along in spite of yourself.
As you attempt to recover from the first song, “Hills and Valleys” takes you on a journey that mirrors the track’s title. However, at times the momentum seems forced as if Avary is playing catch-up with his own lyrics and arrangement.
Electric guitar dominates “Light” and continues this high-energy party. This track has an intriguing arrangement where these emotional lyrics are couched in this hard-pulsating rhythm. It compels you to listen to the track several times to hear if there is something profound that you’ve missed. By the end of the song, it slows down to let the impact wash over you. This tactic causes the tune to remain with you long after it is over.
Unfortunately, “The Fight” is the weakest song on the album as it sounds like a watered-down version of the previous tracks. It doesn’t have the emotional impact of “Light” or the fun vibe of “You Gotta Believe.”
The songs on this EP are uplifting and high spirited and “Hills and Valleys” is currently on the Top 200 on the iTunes Alternative chart.
With the push for the old 45 format (where there were two songs on an album, one single and a b-side track) to return, perhaps Rocket Summer should have released these songs in that capacity.
That way, the listener would have a solid music experience instead of an uneven blend of tracks.